10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Did you know more than 40 percent of food is wasted each year while more than 700 million people in this world are going hungry? So how can we reduce food being wasted while keeping our body nourished with high quality foods? Avoid food waste with these 10 tips and ideas!
Food waste has become a rising concern, considering more than 40 percent of food is wasted each year while more than 700 million people in this world are going hungry. So how can we, as a whole, reduce food wastage while keeping our body nourished with high quality foods? Avoid food waste with these 10 tips and ideas!
How to Avoid Food Waste
1. Grocery Lists
Confirm to a grocery list and purchase foods you plan to use each week. Additionally, try buying more perishable items in limited amounts and more consistently. Doing so can reduce the opportunity for spoilage, thus reducing the accumulation of food wastage.
2. Purchase "Ugly" Foods
Rummaging through the apple bin in search for the shiniest, reddest apple? Dismissing blemished products, particularly produce, has become all too familiar. When these foods become rejected in the stores, they are typically thrown out and wasted. However, "ugly" and imperfect produce and foods can be just as nourishing as its shiny, colorful sibling and still considered a whole food. Stores such as Whole Foods are piloting programs to promote the purchase of imperfect produce, whether it be at a reduced cost or repurposed in ready-prepared foods such as fruit salads.
3. Produce Storage
Colorful produce is loaded with nutrients and highly encouraged in the diet. Unfortunately, though, its freshness is often limited and quite short compared to most packaged food items. Reduce food waste with this produce storage guide to keep fruits and vegetables fresher and longer.
Like the program mentioned with Whole Foods, restore and repurpose foods into new products instead of throwing them out. Those browning bananas sitting on the counter? Peel and freeze them for smoothies or bake into banana bread. The large bag of apples you thought you would use up by now? Make into an applesauce for a convenient snack. Or those bulked cucumbers found on sale? Pickle and jar into homemade pickles! There are plenty of ways to repurpose food items so have fun and be creative!
5. The FIFO Method
Also known as the first in, first out method, FIFO can minimize food wastage. When returning from the grocery store, be sure to bring older products to the front while placing the newer items towards the back. Rotating food using the FIFO method encourages the use of sooner expiring foods, as the products will be more accessible and visible.
6. Eat the Food's Entirety
Though some food parts are inedible, try to consume as much of it as possible. For example, leave the skin on potatoes and cucumbers, as they also provide ample amounts of fiber. Throwing out the edible portions of food products is essentially throwing out dollars and contributing to food wastage.
Keep the leftovers! Leftovers can not only save you time, but from food waste. Dinner entrees and casseroles make excellent, convenient lunches for the next day. Leftover ingredients can also be added to dishes or transformed into entirely new creations. For example, throw leftover black beans from last night's Taco Tuesday into soup or on top of salad for a plant-based protein option. Pair leftover pizza with a fresh salad for a completely nutritious, balanced meal.
8. Grow Your Own
The practice of sustainability has grown in popularity and expanded over the years. The interest in gardening and farming is rising, even in cities as urban gardening. Not only can growing your own food save on grocery store trips and money, but the practice itself can reduce food waste. For further sustainability practices, create your own compost. Doing so transforms food into an environmental, recyclable use. Composting products include egg shells, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and peanut leaves.
9. Split Meals
Restaurants generally serve large portions along with multiple side options. If splitting meals, both the overconsumption of calories and food wastage will be reduced. But if you were to have food left over, be sure to box it up and take it home to diminish food waste at the restaurant. And to reduce food waste at home, be sure to consume the leftovers!
If going through the pantries and identifying items you have no intentions on using, donate them. Before boxing up, be sure to identify whether the product is expired or not. Take perishable items to food banks or research local organizations around your area. Created businesses such as "Food Runners" are working diligently to reduce food waste and hunger by picking up excess perishable food items from business outlets and delivering them to neighborhood food programs.